Talk to Metro: What's in store for 2018

The new year is shaping up to be an exciting year for transit. Construction on the Cortex MetroLink Station and greenway continues, providing light rail service to the Cortex Innovation Community and surround communities. Metro continues to dive deeper into Metro Reimagined and will explore new ways to enhance the rider experience. Join the experts during their monthly chat, Wednesday, Jan. 3 at noon.

  • Good afternoon St. Louis! It’s a new year and we’ve got some exciting projects in the works. We’re moving quickly on the construction of a new MetroLink station in the Cortex Innovation Community. The light rail station should open sometime later this year and provide transit services to residents of the Central West End and businesses and residences along Manchester Road to the south. The comprehensive analysis of the MetroBus system – Metro ReImagined – is moving forward with the goal of implementing new mobility solutions across Metro's Missouri service area. We’ve got a lot of exciting work ahead of us, so let us know if you have any particular questions and we’ll try our best to answer them. Let’s get started.
  • We seem to be the last transit system to offer mobile payment, why can't this be done?
  • John,

    Metro is pursuing mobile ticketing, which would allow customers to pay their transit fares using a mobile app. Look for more information this year.
  • Lots of transit agencies get sponsors to pay for transit services for a day -- i.e. New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, etc. -- why can't Metro get on this? It really isn't that hard.
  • Frank,

    Passenger revenue is a critical source of funding to operate the Metro Transit System, and the cost of offsetting passenger fares across the transit system for an entire service day may be higher than potential sponsors are willing to pay. We have had some success offering free fares on certain routes, or at certain stations in association with special events. Metro actively seeks creative solutions for attracting and retaining customers, while maintaining necessary operating revenues.
  • What is the status of the Gateway Smart Card? Seems like it's been "in testing" forever
  • Kevin,

    Metro looks forward to releasing the Gateway Card smart card to the public. The Gateway Card project remains in testing, and includes internal and external testers. As soon as the system meets performance standards, we will expand our external testing to more users and features, including online ticket purchasing.
  • We're hearing a lot about Northside-Southside, but what about the County? Has those plans ended?
  • Alex,

    East-West Gateway Council of Governments, in partnership with the City of St. Louis, Metro, and others is currently leading a conceptual design study of a Northside-Southside light rail alignment. St. Louis County has plans to launch a similar study that would explore the costs and benefits of potential light rail options within St. Louis County. The launch of this study is dependent on the approval of St. Louis County Government.
  • What's the next step with Metro ReImagined?
  • Sara,

    Metro and its partners are working now to develop specific service recommendations for the reimagined Metro Transit System. We anticipate sharing these draft recommendations with the public for consideration and input in February. Throughout the spring, those recommendations will be refined and crafted into an implementation plan that outlines proposed service modifications; an implementation schedule; and a financial plan to ensure sustainability.
  • Have we put the breaks on BRT? I thought that was moving forward? When we do these "studies" isn't a funding strategy put in place to meet those goals? This is insane!
  • If you could pick three, what projects are you looking forward to and why?
  • Mark,

    The transit projects I’m most excited about now include some of the work that is emerging out of the Metro Reimagined system redesign process. Here’s a glance at my “Top 3 of 2018”:

    1. The most often requested transit investment, and one of the initiatives I’m most excited about is more frequent service. The Metro Reimagined system will realign routes, schedules and service types to improve frequency on those corridors within St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis that will provide the most utility.
    2. The Northside-Southside Conceptual Design Study will wrap up in summer 2018. The conclusion of this work will provide regional leadership with a range of options for funding and constructing a north-south light rail alignment. In 2018 St. Louis County also intends to embark on a study that would explore the costs and benefits of light rail options in St. Louis County.
    3. There are more options for mobility in the marketplace today than ever before, and Metro is seeking opportunities to create partnerships that would integrate shared mobility with a network of fixed bus, rail, and possibly BRT services. These shared mobility solutions would allow us to continue our pursuit of providing competitive mobility that focuses on the user experience. This type of service would likely begin with a demonstration project(s) that will help us design service to reach intended performance levels and markets, and mitigate potential risks.

    2018 will be an exciting year for the future of transit in the St. Louis region, stay tuned to the conversation!
  • Paul,

    Bus rapid transit (BRT) is an option under consideration for the St. Louis region. Two possible BRT options were identified as part of the St. Louis Rapid Transit Connector Study, which included cost estimates and potential funding strategies. At this time, the region has not determined when or if to pursue federal funding for those two corridors, or alternative options. At this time Metro and our partners are engaged in a comprehensive update to the MetroBus system, which may bring these corridors to the fore, or introduce additional options for BRT or other types of mobility. Along with the conclusion of the Northside-Southside Conceptual Design Study later this year, we look forward to refining priorities and beginning the pursuit of capital funding.
  • I am loving the civic center project with its new climate controlled area and restrooms along with security presence. Are you planning on adding any similar transit centers?
  • Aligo,

    I’m so glad you’re pleased with the new Civic Center Transit Center! We’ve heard great feedback from our customers about this facility, as well as the North County Transit Center, which has similar features. We are planning to redesign some of our existing stations to include similar features. We hope to begin design work this year, and subsequently begin assembling construction funds. Stay tuned for more information about potential designs and opportunities for input.
  • Thank you for joining us for today's Live Chat! We have a lot of work to do in 2018 and you'll be with us every step of the way. Let's continue the conversation. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and keep those transit questions coming.
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